The Herald Moth: Scoliopteryx libatrix

Roughly 4 months ago, when the days were getting shorter and autumn was settling in, I was going through the side entrance on our house. There is a little eave overhanging that door, and in summer, especially late summer, I habitually look up as that eave is often a favorite lair for large, brown, orb weaving garden spiders. I try to peacefully coexist with our arachnid friends, and part of this is taking care not to walk face first in to one of their webs (it's happened).

This evening when I peered up, there was a beautiful, delicate looking moth tucked up in a corner of the eave. It looked dead, and given that the eave was in use as a spiders' bug larder, that was my assumption. I nudged it slightly with my pinky finger, and it tipped in to my hand, motionless. 

Wanting to identify it, I brought it in to the house, took a photo and posted to Instagram. Some smarty pants on IG immediately identified it as Scoliopteryx libatrix, common name The Herald Moth. When I finished staring at my IG feed, I looked back to the piece of paper that I had placed the moth on was gone. I looked around on the floor, my lap, the table, and then looked up and found the little Lazarus fluttering around the ceiling light. I quickly set it free outside.

I learned later that Herald Moths will seek out cool, dark structures (i.e. my side door eave) to hibernate in through the winter, and take wing again in spring. So...I had awoken this one from its peaceful torpor, but it had me duped! I'll know better next time not to disturb, and hope this one found another suitable spot to winter. Ice and snow are finally thawing around here. I'm keeping my eye out for Heralds.

*painting here


  1. So fascinating. I love moths. And your painting of your little visitor is just beautiful.

  2. Would it be fair to say that your painting may look more beautiful than the creature itself. :p
    Did you use water colour or gouache ?? I adore your paintings and the colours you choose to put in to them.

    Hey, I would love to exchange links with you. Would you mind?

    PS, Hope the little guy lived a happy summer :)


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